Cubs' Crowded Roster is a Good Problem to Have, But Still a Problem and Other Bullets

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Cubs’ Crowded Roster is a Good Problem to Have, But Still a Problem and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

tommy la stella cubsNot that I’m eyeballin’ this kind of thing just yet, but I’m pointing it out: the Cubs are up 2.5 games on the Nationals for the best record in the National League. In theory, in some distant, unspeakable future, that could matter.

  • Joe Maddon discussed with the Tribune the difficult nature of managing this Cubs roster, with “tough, tough decisions” that have to be made. The latest, of course, was designating reliever Joe Nathan for assignment to make room for Jorge Soler, which Maddon attributed to “just need[ing] more time and we had so many other people to get involved, it just didn’t work out immediately.” Nathan could catch on with another organization – his stuff looked OK in the very small sample we got to see – or, in theory, could decide to accept his assignment to AAA Iowa and then possibly return in September when the rosters expand to the full 40-man.
  • Maddon also discussed with the Tribune, without quite fully illuminating, the status of Tommy La Stella, who has not reported to AAA Iowa more than a week after being optioned there. The Cubs gave him additional time to report for personal reasons, though no one has really said more than that. Maddon said that the Cubs are trying to figure out how to get La Stella back up on the big league roster, but also said that La Stella “wasn’t ready to play yet.” I think you could probably speculate intelligently about what’s going on, but it would be surprising to me if this is simply a matter of a guy saying he won’t go to AAA, and the Cubs saying OK fine. Maybe that’s the situation, but it’s not something I’ve ever seen before. I’d like to believe there’s more to the story, but I’m not sure we’ll know. The only facts we have: La Stella is a big league caliber player who was playing very well in his role, the Cubs had a roster crunch that necessitated optioning players like La Stella in order to keep them all, La Stella was understandably upset about the decision, and La Stella is still not with AAA Iowa, by permission of the Cubs.
  • A reminder: the roster stuff isn’t going to get easier, with Jason Hammel coming back from the bereavement list in a few days, with Trevor Cahill just about ready to return, and with La Stella somewhere ready to return. This is definitely what it looks like when the “good problems to have” actually have to be sorted out. Good problems are still problems, and problems require sometimes difficult solutions. (Until September 1 rolls around, and rosters expand to the full 40-man. At which point, if the Cubs have been able to keep most of their guys, they will be looooooaded with available depth.)
  • Jon Lester, who was great last night, says he’s experienced lulls in the 50 to 100 innings pitched area and the 160 to 180 innings pitched area throughout his career (Tribune). That’s interesting, as I’ve never quite heard it put that way. It makes sense, and that’s why you’d have very rough ranges like that, because I doubt it’s too precise of a thing. Lester, for what it’s worth, is now up to 135.1 innings on the year. Better get him through that 180 mark before late September, right?
  • A strange, unseemly story out of Oakland, where the team’s strength and conditioning coach allegedly placed a hidden camera in the training facilities to observe players, which is a violation of any number of rules, as well as the players’ sense of privacy.
  • The Padres are catching heat for potentially trading Colin Rea and Drew Pomeranz this year to the Marlins and Red Sox, respectively, without fully disclosing injury issues/medical information, as they are supposed to do. Similarly, the Rays may seek additional compensation from the Giants because prospect Lucius Fox has a bruised foot that could keep him out of action the rest of the year, and that was not disclosed to the Rays before they pulled the trigger on the Matt Moore trade.
  • Any board game enthusiasts out there? A bunch are on sale today at Amazon.
  • A couple things, as Adam Warren has basically been flawless since going back to the Yankees:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.